That’s how long D Man has been by my side. Every day. In fact, with no family support, it’s been almost every minute of that time.
They say you forget the pain of labour, but you don’t really. I remember it like yesterday.
I remember feeling as though my entire lower back was opening up, splitting in two, like some weird bi-fold creature, as I pushed the child I’d been nurturing inside myself free into the world.
I suppose that was the first letting go.
Even though he was placed directly in my arms, upon my bare breast, he was no longer encased in my flesh, where he was safe from harm.
I also remember that little, pale blue, baby lying on my chest in the seconds after his birth and he looked straight into my eyes.
I know you, his eyes said.
I know you.
We’ve loved and grown and struggled, and loved and laughed, and played and yelled and loved and cuddled ourselves to this point we are at today.
This little dude has taught me so damned much about myself, and about life, and he’s made me a better person……
I’m more patient, most of the time.
I’m less selfish.
I’m more open, not just to him, but to the world.
I see things differently now.
Yesterday, I took D Man for his first day at school. It’s just day care. Two days a week.
I always said not before three, but if I don’t do it in the January intake, I have to wait another year……. and he’s ready.
He needs more than me now, because I can’t do everything cool and fun and messy everyday.
I’ve taught him to put on his shoes and take them off again, and to ask for what he wants with nice manners. This week we toilet trained so he can be a big boy because he doesn’t like just anybody changing his nappy……..that’s private boy’s business, you see.
I suppose that’s all we do from the moment that they are born, really – teach them stuff, to make ourselves OBSOLETE.
Then we can set them free and hope we’ve done enough.
I didn’t hang around. I hung around in the orientation mornings. Yesterday was not a day for hanging around.
I showed him where his bag went, put his water bottle with the other kids’, took him to the toilets and told him who to ask if he wanted to go.
‘Where you going, Mummy?’
‘I’m going home’
Of course, we’d talked all about it, what was going to happen on this day, but still, neither of us were quite prepared. You never can be fully prepared for that umbilical cord getting a little more severed.
We had a quick kiss and I left, with Kiki on my hip.
But I made the fatal error……I looked back.
You shouldn’t look back.
Never look back.
He was crying at the door, my big boy. His little face was creased up in a look that made me want to never set him free. To keep him with me forever (oh my god, can you imagine when he was a big, sweaty, 45 year old? We’d probably have loads of cats too. Ew.).
I stood outside and cried. I didn’t mean to but I couldn’t help it. I felt like a bit of a tit because one of the other mums (an old hand, obviously) walked past me and smiled knowingly.
Ten minutes later I received this picture and a text……
Hi Mum, I’m doing so well, you would be proud.
I’m colouring a picture of Spiderman and telling all my friends the colours
So, I dropped my mummy guilt, danced all the way to the shopping centre, shopped in peace, painted my toenails in silence and ate all of my lunch without sharing.
I reckon we’ll adjust quickly.
Today I’m hooking up with Jess, for IBOT, over at EssentiallyJess, go check it out. It’s a whole community thang……